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Fantasy Football 101: 2010 Bust Candidates

By Chris Maier on 08-07-2010

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As draft time nears much of the focus is on finding the late round sleepers but avoiding the busts is likely even more important to your team's ultimate success.  After all, many of the biggest busts are players you took in the first 5 rounds whom you were counting on a major contribution. 

Being selected for this list does not necessarily mean a player should be avoided altogether but will likely be selected before they should (players to avoid altogether are noted).  In general, use this as a guide for some players to move down your draft board.


Philip Rivers, San Diego - Of the elite eight fantasy quarterbacks, Rivers is the only one who threw less than 514 passes last season (Rivers threw 486)  and after the drafting of workhorse running back Ryan Mathews look for the Chargers to re-balance their offense this season.  Add in Vincent Jackson's holdout and Rivers may fall out of the 4,000 yard club this season.

Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins - The Eagles trading of McNabb within the division speaks volumes about their concerns in facing him twice a season.  From a fantasy perspective, McNabb is leaves behind one of the league's best young receiving cores and a pass happy offense for a more balanced attack with a less talented surrounding cast.  McNabb won't be terrible but is no longer someone you can feel confident about as your starting quarterback.

Mark Sanchez - The surrounding cast has been upgraded and the turnovers will probably go down but a breakout season is unlikely in the Jets run-oriented attack. 

Running Back:

Rashard Mendenhall - Mendenhall is getting a lot of buzz as a borderline first round pick but is more of a risky upside play than fantasy cornerstone.  The Steelers will focus on running more this season but the Steeler offensive line remains average at best and inconsistent performance makes him a gamble.  503 of his 1,108 yards came against the porous run defenses of the AFC West last season vs. 282 in 5 games in the rough and tumble AFC North.

Felix Jones, Dallas - Jones has tremendous upside with some predicting a Ray Rice-like season this year but unlike Rice last year, Jones is typically among the first 20 backs off the board meaning you are drafting him to start which is a huge gamble for a speed back who does not catch many passes and struggles to stay healthy.

Joseph Addai - After averaging less than 4.0 yards per carry the past two seasons, Addai will struggle to keep his starting job this season. 

Wide Receiver:

Desean Jackson, Philadelphia - No Eagles receiver will miss Donovan McNabb's strong arm more than Jackson.  Under Kevin Kolb, the Eagles will still pass a lot but will take fewer chances downfield which means more catches but less yards per catch and fewer touchdowns for Jackson.

Marques Colston, New Orleans - Colston is the number one receiver in the league's most pass happy offense but the team's spread it around system leads to inconsistent production.

Santonio Holmes, Pittsburgh Steelers - Holmes has talent but he is likely to get overdrafted due to his tremendous Super Bowl.  More of a 65 catch 1,000 yard catch guy than the breakout star some expect.

Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh - No receiver is likely to be overdrafted more than Wallace.  The departure of Santonio Holmes has made him a popular breakout pick this season but  he needs to prove he is more than a one dimensional deep threat to be worthy of his number two receiver draft slot.  Has the upside you look for but has an equally high bust rating.

Donald Driver, Green Bay Packers - It seems fantasy footballers have been predicting Driver's demise for the past three years only to watch Driver prove us wrong but a 35 year old coming off knee surgery on both knees is someone it is better to bail on a year early than a year late.  If you do draft Driver be sure to grab James Jones near the end of the draft.

Steve Breaston, Arizona - Breaston finally gets an opportunity to start but the loss of Kurt Warner likely means his results remain in the 50-60 catch, 700-800 yard range.

Demaryius Thomas, Denver - Thomas was the first receiver taken in the 2010 draft but the talented but raw rookie is likely to be little more than a deep threat as a rookie as he adjusts to the pro game and a full route tree. 

Tight End:

Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta - This is the year the ageless one falls from the fantasy elite.  His 2009 is likely his ceiling more than his floor.  Chalk this one up to better to jump ship a year early rather than a year late.

Kellen Winslow, Tampa Bay - His knees make him an injury concern and the addition of young talent at wide receiver means the ball will be spread around more this season.

Jeremy Shockey, New Orleans - Despite playing in the league's most prolific passing offense, Shockey has failed to make an impact for the Saints and 2010 will be no different.

Any Tight End You Select Before Round 6 - It used to be Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten and a big drop off but the emergence of tight ends around the league allows you the opportunity to wait and take the best value on the board.  There are 10-11 tight ends who are capable of 70 catches and 800+ yards diminishing the value of the elite tight ends.   Consider taking a backup running back or receiver before taking a tight end this year.

2010 Sleepers

Chris Maier is Senior Editor for NFLDraft101.com.  He can be reached at cmaier@nfldraft101.com.  Follow me on twitter: nfldraft101


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